Small Town Simple

The Simplicity Adventures of a Mother and Daughter

Christmas Then

As Lauren and I have both worked to simplify our lives I find myself sometimes reflecting on the holidays my sister and I enjoyed as little girls.  Specifically those holidays spent with grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins.

Our dad was one of 7 kids and that included his twin sister.  If we were all able to gather, approximately 25 people descended on our grandmother’s house -Granny to us – as we came together to celebrate Christmas and be with each other.  The men talked cars or…whatever , the women brought in platters and bowls of side dishes, desserts, breads, etc.  And somewhere in all that melee a turkey and a ham were produced.  Tables were pulled together and miraculously chairs appeared for everyone.  We laughed, ate, shared family stories, ate some more and glowed in the excitement of so many people coming together as one family!

Our uncle (my dad had one brother and five sisters) was always responsible for the Christmas tree.  He made a habit of walking out behind the house and chopping down the first cedar bush that resembled a tree and brought it into the house.  One skinny stretch of lights and a few ornaments went up on the tree.  Done! No major production there – but we loved it because of what it represented, not how it looked.   At some point gifts were exchanged.  These were simple and small gifts.  There was absolutely nothing elaborate in our gift giving.  Just tokens of love.

The real fun began when all of us kids were run out of the house to go create our own brand of fun.  And it usually involved climbing “the mountain”.  Our grandmother lived in Fairy, Texas – a very small community not far from Hico and sitting just on the northern edge of the Texas Hill country.  And just down the way from Granny’s house was a hill that we called the mountain.  A bunch of us cousins, and sometimes a few adults in tow, hopped over cattle grates, crawled through some barbed wire fencing (were we trespassing?) and up the hill we went.  But as we crested our mountain – it felt like the top of the world!  We could see for miles around.  Houses below looked so tiny and we seemed so far removed from everything.  It was quiet and the wind was strong.  After exploring and simply enjoying, we made the trek back down to Granny’s, a little tired, windblown and ready for a second dessert!

It was easy, simple and without pretense.  It was about family, respect and joy.  While neither Lauren & her family nor I live next to a “mountain” these days, we can still celebrate the holidays like the days of old.  We will keep it simple, we will fill our moments with love and we will enjoy the gift of time together.  It was Christmas then, it is Christmas now.

Enjoy the season!

xo, Carolyn

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